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We learn a lot after catastrophic events. Industry experts dissect what worked and what didn’t. We prepare a list of lessons learned.

But we don’t need a formal analysis of Hurricane Harvey to know that Texas’ strength is in its people.

That’s something we saw firsthand when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast in late August. For every person we know whose home, business or other property was damaged in the storm, we likely know one or two other people who helped with search and rescue, recovery and ongoing relief efforts.

Regular people conducted water rescues using fishing boats. Neighbors, friends and strangers helped clean out each other’s homes. Passersby cleared roadways blocked by debris and fallen trees.

All of this work was done with unity, loyalty and bravery.

This spirit was evident in the Texas hospital community as well. Drier hospitals from across the state admitted and treated the unique needs of about 1,000 of southeast Texas’ most critical patients. Hospitals in the impact zone worked together to share resources so that patient care wouldn’t suffer. Hospital staff and physicians sacrificed their own personal comfort and well-being to prioritize patient care, all while many of their own homes were damaged or destroyed and families displaced.

This commitment to helping each other is what spurred the Texas Hospital Association to create the THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund that will provide financial aid to hospital employees in disaster areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While affected hospitals and their employees are months away from normalcy, THA is committed to supporting its member hospitals and their employees until each and every one has fully recovered.

Information on donating to the fund and applying for assistance is available at www.tha.org/Harvey.

Rebuilding the Texas Gulf Coast will take time and resources. Those may be finite, but the Texas spirit is boundless and that’s our strength.

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